June 12, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - For the first time in nearly 20 years, the Bulldogs will end the regular season against their archrivals. Yale and Harvard meet at Reese Stadium in the 2007 finale on Sat., Nov. 17 at 11:30 a.m., 30 minutes before the two schools play football a few hundred yards away in Yale Bowl. The Soccer Game is the highlight of a challenging Yale schedule that features five opponents, including the Crimson, that appeared in the NCAA College Cup last year.
"Given the huge spectator interest and partisanship that surrounds any Yale-Harvard competition, we anticipate an overflowing crowd and an electric atmosphere," said Yale head coach Brian Tompkins. "It will be even more exciting if the game has a direct bearing on the outcome of the Ivy League championship."
Harvard, who won last year's game 3-2 in Cambridge, captured the Ivy League title and advanced to the second round of the College Cup before falling to eventual runner-up UCLA. The last time Yale and Harvard met at the end of the season was in 1988, a 4-3 Crimson win in overtime.
Yale will have a number of challenging games prior to playing Harvard. The Bulldogs open the season by hosting Northwestern on the first day of the Yale Classic on Sept. 7. The Wildcats finished 2006 ranked eighth in the nation after advancing to the quarterfinals of the College Cup.
"Northwestern has been one of the most improved programs in the country since Coach [Tim] Lenahan took over, and their run in last year's College Cup was no fluke," Tompkins said. "They are a quality team and will be a force to be reckoned with in 2007. Opening the season with a team of their caliber will be a stern test for us."
The Northwestern game will be Yale's first on the new Field Turf at Reese Stadium, but the fans and players will have to wait until an Oct. 9 night game with Army to witness the effects of the new lights.
"The new playing surface will allow us to train and compete on a field that is consistently good in any weather conditions, and the new lighting system will enhance the experience for both players and fans," Tompkins said.
The Bulldogs host Sacred Heart on the second day of the Yale Classic after Northwestern and Dartmouth play. Yale's first road game of the year on Sept. 15 will be a challenging matchup against defending MAAC champion Fairfield. The Stags upset UConn in the first round of last year's College Cup.
The Bulldogs' second tournament takes them to Hanover, N.H., for the Dartmouth Classic. Yale plays Saint Francis (Pa.) on Sept. 21 and then takes on UW-Milwaukee on Sept. 23. Tompkins spent seven years as the head coach at UWM prior to coming to Yale and was inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame on May 6. This will be the third time Tompkins has faced his former school.
After a trip to Boston College on Sept. 26, Yale opens Ivy League play by hosting Dartmouth on Oct. 6. Six of the last seven Yale-Dartmouth games have ended 1-0. That is the start of four straight home games that includes games with Army (Oct. 9), Cornell (Oct. 13) and Central Connecticut (Oct. 20).
Yale travels to Penn on Oct. 20 but comes right back to the friendly confines of Reese Stadium to host state-rival UConn on Oct. 24, the first meeting between the schools in New Haven since 2001. The Huskies have reached the NCAA College Cup in each of the last nine years.
"UConn has a legitimate chance to be a Final Four squad this season, and they probably will have their strongest team in years," Tompkins said. "We are excited to have a chance to measure ourselves against a team of that quality at home. If we are to do well this season, we need to rise to the challenge of playing the top teams in the country. UConn games usually bring out the best in our players, and we are looking forward to a good game and a big crowd that night."
After UConn, the Bulldogs play two straight games in New York, starting on Oct. 27 at Columbia followed by a contest at Stony Brook on Halloween. Brown, which reached the second round of the 2006 College Cup, visits Reese Stadium on Nov. 3. Yale upset the Bears 1-0 in Providence last year in a game that was televised nationally on the Fox Soccer Channel.
The Bulldogs final road trip of the year takes them to Princeton on Nov. 11. Yale's last trip to Princeton was memorable, as the Bulldogs clinched a share of the 2005 Ivy League title with a 1-0 win over the Tigers.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity